Tag Archive: jenna-louise coleman


Doctor Who: Under the Lake Review

After the fantastic story to open series 9 of Doctor Who, I had my doubts about a base-under-siege story as a followup. However, after watching “Under the Lake,” I can safely say my concerns were not needed and that series 9 continues its mark of excellence.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Typically, these sort of stories result in a lot of running around and a somewhat rushed ending and they usually get kind of

Doing some sort of stuff

Doing some investigative stuff

boring. I can’t say what the end result is since this is a two part story, but I can say the cliffhanger has me wanting more.

Basically, the Doctor and Clara end up in an underwater base located in the midst of a flooded town in the not-so-distant future. Here’s the catch (so punny): there are ghosts roaming the halls of the base. To make matters more interesting, there’s a spaceship they discovered in the town that they brought aboard the base, and it has some sort of writing on it that sort of subliminally conveys a message to all that have looked at it.

Here’s the mystery: where’d the ship come from, what is the writing, where is the ship’s captain, why is one of the energy cells missing from the ship, and where is the body being transported in it (suspended animation chamber or something, can’t recall exactly what it’s called)?

These are a lot of questions that normally wouldn’t be around if the episode was only 45 minutes. This is why I enjoy two part episodes. The writer is able to fully develop the story, creating little parts and details that otherwise would not be able to make the final cut.

Speaking of the writing, I love how the characters are written in this story. Naturally, there’s a crew on the base, and as some background, in the opening credits one of the dies and becomes a ghost. Instead of being hostile towards the Doctor – and in turn killing about 10 minutes of the Doctor trying to gain their trust – they basically just go with it (and a little help of the psychic paper saying he’s from UNIT helped as well). The crew isn’t yelling at each other or anything. Instead, they’re trying to figure out how to approach the situation and actually listen to what the Doctor has to say. I rather enjoy how these professionals aren’t a bunch of bumbling fools, which is something that bothers me in a lot of sci-fi when a team of supposedly intelligent scientists turn into a bunch of clueless characters existing just to be killed off, which is basically lazy writing.

Clara is arguably the best dressed teacher on any show ever

Clara is arguably the best dressed teacher on any show ever, and Rose could take some style advice from her

There is one annoying character, a businessman who is over-the-top in it for the profit, but luckily he gets killed off and becomes a ghost (not a big spoiler, you see it coming a mile away).

Perhaps my favorite character is Cass, who is deaf and has her interpreter, Lunn (the sexual tension is strong between these two). Whereas in the the pre-Moffat era, having a diverse character meant banging it over the viewer’s head until the entire planet knew there was a diverse character, Cass exists as an actual character and not as an agenda or political correctness. I don’t believe it was ever pointed out that she’s deaf. Which would make sense since the Doctor and Clara travel the universe, so if a deaf person is their biggest surprise, well, there’s an issue. And Cass ends up being the one in charge of the base, which is great in terms that it shows her disability does not define her and for all the people complaining about Moffat’s apparent (at least to some people, I don’t see it as much) lack of ability to write a female character, he has writers who can write strong female characters.

Cass and Lunn

Cass and Lunn

Also note, Lunn was not killed by the ghosts when he was cornered by them. Why is this? I think that is something we’ll have to wait to find out. I don’t want to give away why he got in this position, but just remember it. This is something I like about a two part episode, they can have these mysteries all come together as things get resolved in the second part, or at least that’s the hope.

Even more interesting, the ghosts are mouthing words, which the Doctor concludes are coordinates to a building in the town. What is the significance of the building? Well, the Doctor believes they are a signal, but a signal for what?

The Doctor gets tired of not knowing why the town was flooded (well, he knows a dam broke, but what happened around that time) and all the previous mysteries noted (ah, they also found the suspended animation chamber, which is now just chilling in their main room, because why not?), so he decides to go back to the TARDIS and to when it all started. Except the ghosts get smart, and begin to lock down the base, so as they’re all running to the TARDIS, the Doctor and Clara get separated. Clara ends up with Cass and Lunn and the Doctor gets O’Donnell and Bennett (also the sexual tension, but again, enjoyably written characters).

Then, the cliffhanger: the Doctor and them fly away and Clara and her group make it back to the main room, look out the window, and see the Doctor as a ghost. Except, unlike all the other ghosts who are mouthing the same words, the Doctor is saying something different. What happens in the past that caused this? What is he saying? Just add more questions to the list.

So where are we now? The Doctor’s a ghost, adding to the total count of now four ghosts (one original, then a crew member, the business man, and now the Doctor), what’s in the suspended animation chamber, where is the missing energy cell, why did the town flood, what’s the mysterious writing on the spaceship, and who is the first ghost that didn’t die at the base?

I guess we’ll find out in part two “Before the Flood.”

Here we are, Doctor Who is back with the dramatic opening scene of “The Magician’s Apprentice.” Is it good, bad, or a little of both? I’m going with the latter, read on to find out how the 12th Doctor’s second season began.

Brace yourself, SPOILERS AHEAD.

After Clara and the Doctor told each other the truth in last year’s Christmas episode, they went their separate ways, with Clara being a schoolteacher and the Doctor doing whatever it is he does, and that leads us to the dramatic beginning of the episode, on Skaro. There’s a big war going on, and for whatever reason the troops on ground have bows and arrows and the opposing forces have early era airplanes, but ignoring that, this is a war on Skaro. So far so cool. As the previews showed, there’s a young boy here, and the Doctor pops in, as he does, and attempts to save him. Until, spoiler, he finds out it’s a young Davros. Davros, as in, creator of the Daleks, that Davros. Fast forward a bunch of years and Davros is seeking the Doctor because he all of a sudden remembers what happened all those years ago and is dying in a hospital. Worth noting, he is being sought out by Colony Sarff, a colony of snakes that create a humanoid being and is a loyal follower of Davros.

Things are looking a little bleak

Things are looking a little bleak

Cut to intro title/credits scene.

Back to the show.

For the next ten to fifteen minutes we may as well forget the Doctor is doing much of anything because it turns back into the Clara show as all of the airplanes on Earth stop and Clara is pulled out of her classroom and brought to UNIT Here she is apparently more competent than all of UNIT, including Kate Stewart, who is in charge of UNIT, but I’ll conveniently ignore that. After a few minutes of not much happening other than Clara telling Kate what to do, Missy comes back. Hold up, what, but she died, right?

Wrong. So that means there’s an explanation for how she didn’t die, right?

Wrong. Because, well, Moffat has tendency to not explain these sort of things (I’m looking at you Sherlock) and expects everyone to go with it, so fine, I’m going with it.

After some time, Missy, who didn’t turn good mind you, ends up helping Clara and UNIT find the Doctor. Key things to note, the Doctor left Missy his last will and testament in case he dies and Missy is his best friend, which we all kind of knew if you watched some of the Classic Who stories, where there were some rather fun scenes with the two characters. Sure, we don’t know how she came back, but she escapes death all the time, it’s her thing. I’m good with it because I really enjoy her character. She’s so dark and ridiculous, I always look forward to seeing what she is going to do next. She doesn’t play the role of the strictly villainous character, she actually has a dimension to her character, which I sometimes feel is lacking in characters Moffat creates. So more Missy the better.

So much sass

So much sass

Then things get a little confusing, at least for me, so forgive me if I missed anything explaining this. They look at a big map of the world that UNIT has and search for keywords to try and find where the Doctor is. Somehow Clara figures out he’s in 1138 AD, so I’m assuming the map accounts for all of history. Strange, but alright, it gets the plot going so Clara and Missy can make their way to the Doctor. And I’m not even going to begin to ask or wonder how the Doctor, who came to an “ax fight” with his electric guitar in 1138 AD (funny, but a little bit of a tone killer for this episode) also had a tank, he can’t simply drive one out of the TARDIS doors. Missy and Clara get here via a vortex manipulator (if you recall River used one). What’s more confusing is how Colony Sarff a) knew to look in 1138 AD and b) how they even got to 1138 AD. Even more confusing, and this part I just can’t look past because it makes zero sense according to the lore of the show:

Colony Sarff is presumably using a Dalek ship to go around the universe looking for the Doctor. This would mean the ship has no time travel, because the Daleks only manage to temporal shift to a random place or end up somewhere by accident (or make pig people and human Daleks). So, we are now left to wonder how Colony Sarff a) time traveled backwards and b) time traveled forward without the use of time travel (vortex manipulators only work on the person who is wearing one). And this is important, because Davros is assumed to be dying in 2015 AD (Clara is the same age as the previous season and is a schoolteacher, so it matches the timeline, which at most could only be off a couple of years). So they now need to go forward to 2015 AD. None of this is ever explained, and we are still left to assume the Daleks don’t have time travel because Missy herself said so at the end of the episode.

So Moffat, if you read this, I would appreciate some clarity.

Luckily, the rest of the episode is pretty good.

Yeah, so, that was a thing

Yeah, so, that was a thing

We end up back at the hospital where Davros is, Clara and Missy are kept in waiting as the Doctor confronts Davros, who recognizes the face the Doctor currently has, as it’s the one that he saw all those years ago during the war. This part was pretty great, as it brought in Classic Who moments and tied them all together with the current show and it brought back the drama and seriousness of the opening scene of the episode. Then the big reveal. They’re not on a medical ship as originally assumed, but rather, on Skaro. And not just Skaro, but one that has been rebuilt since the war.

In the final moments, Missy and Clara are left to perish at the hands (figuratively speaking) of the Daleks, as they then turn their attention toward blowing up the TARDIS.

All very heavy stuff and all very good. The time travel still is an issue with Moffat, but I like where this story is going. It’s big and ambitious and brings in the lore of the show. I loved the performances of the entire cast. Each character really hit their stride in this one and the closing minutes had me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more. While I enjoyed last season, it felt like it was lacking something, and even though this is only the first episode of this season, I have a feeling it’s going to provide what I was looking for.

I for one cannot wait for next Saturday (well, Sunday, I think I’ll be doing Halloween type things already on Saturday at a haunted asylum, also a good idea for a Doctor Who story), and I am fully on board for this season. Yes, there was some bad, but overall, I want to see what happens next, how will Clara and Missy be saved, how with the TARDIS be saved, how will the Doctor get out of this one? So I’ll leave you with the trailer for next week’s story, “The Witch’s Familiar.”

The Time of the Doctor was aired on Christmas day and took place in a town called Christmas, which has nothing much to do with Christmas other than there’s snow.  Clara’s having a Christmas dinner with her family and that’s about it for the Christmas theme.  This is an episode meant to bring closure and new beginnings that just so happens to be penciled in for the Christmas episode.

SPOILERS AND THE LIKE AHEAD

Taking a walk through Christmas town

Taking a walk through Christmas town

As always, Matt Smith gives a brilliant performance and with his final two specials, finally gets scripts that allow him to demonstrate his light-hearted and dramatic acting without getting over-the-top.  Throughout the episode he is faced with actual death and plays it seriously but at the same time, calm and accepting.  He’s also given some funny moments with Clara as she’s trying to make dinner and things aren’t going well.  Though, I would have liked a bit more between the Doctor and Clara’s family, as it felt kind of rushed, but at least they came back later on in the episode for a well done scene (oddly, her dad only had a few lines of dialogue while her grandmother was the main character of her family).

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the episode, and it all is kind of thrown at the viewer.  The big thing of course Matt Smith leaving so the Doctor needs to regenerate, and it’s done well enough.  Before that, the Doctor is tracking down a signal being sent all around the universe but nobody can decipher it, and as a result, nearly every past villain is there, as well as the Doctor.  Eventually the Doctor finds out he’s at Trenzalore and the signal is coming from a town called Christmas.  Now, think back to series 5, the cracks and the TARDIS exploding that was never really explained.  Well, these things are back and the explosion is a bit more explained, but still we just need to go with it.  The cracks also make a return but don’t feel as connected to the cracks in series 5, instead feeling more like an attempt to be clever by bringing something back from a few series ago.  Oh right, series 6, Madame Kovarian, she’s mentioned again, and now also sort of makes sense.  Truth be told, these things feel like they’re forced in there just so Moffat can say he was being clever and had this planned all along even though it feels like he didn’t.  Why do I say this?  Well, basically it’s because most of these lines and explanations are just kind of thrown in there, never the focus but more a quick remark, like a full depth explanation would be too hard.

The Doctor finds these things out when he’s aboard the – now hold your breath, this is a long one – Church of the Papal Mainframe (it’s a big church spaceship, no big deal) and Mother Superior Tasha Lem (Orla Brady) has somehow known the Doctor from past regenerations.  This isn’t a big deal, we can assume he’s been around the universe a time or two and it’s nice to see him be flirty with someone who isn’t as unbearably annoying as River turned into.  At one point the Doctor tells Clara that Tasha doesn’t like to appear aged, so maybe it can be argued she is somehow connected to the Time Lords.  She goes on to explain how Madame Kovarian broke away form the church and convinced some of the Silents to go on her rogue cause.  Also, the Silents apparently aren’t really evil and are in fact important figures of the church.  The whole thing about silence falling also comes back and again, makes enough sense to work but is still a bit flimsy.

See, this is all about the Doctor here, and it’s kind of obvious when other parts of the story falter he’s still there to deliver some excellent intimate dialogue with Clara, Tasha, or the citizens of Christmas.  Interestingly, thedoctor-who-christmas-cyberman Doctor ages, which I suppose makes sense given he’s actually about to die for real (they explain how he’s the last regeneration and you just have to go with it, Moffat clearly wanted to get the regeneration number out of the way).  Seeing him get older is really entertaining because he never fears his death and instead is accepting and calm about it.  There’s a lovely scene towards the end when he’s making a toy for one of the children in town and Clara comes in to talk to him before he takes his final stand against the Daleks, but I won’t go and ruin it.  Likewise, the final moments before his regeneration are solid just nothing overly special, but there is a nice guest appearance that will either have you in tears or just going aww, depending on how much you liked the character in the past.

There’s also a big paradox that cannot go avoided.  Remember how the Doctor was buried at Trenzalore, Great Intelligence goes into his time stream to kill him, then Clara goes back to save him?  Well, that kind of can’t happen now since they prevented Trenzalore from being destroyed and from the Doctor being killed there.  This means the finale of series 7 pretty much can’t happen, which then means the 50th anniversary can’t happen (or at least it would need a different explanation).

Matt Smith’s last episode really is then, a summary of what his era has been.  Smith plays the role great as always, but is held back by truly inconsistent writing that tries to be complex for the sake of saying it’s complex and instead turns out to be a mess of continuity errors.  I would also like to add how Moffat should probably get a female writer on board (seriously, do they have any?), because he’s just awful at making anything really emotional.  He relied too much on the past by sending Clara away twice compared to Rose being sent back at the end of series 1 just once.  When Rose went back it had a much bigger impact since her scenes weren’t rushed like Clara’s ended up being.  Moffat also doesn’t care much about family.  When Amy got her parents back it was no big deal, Rory’s dad never knew what happened to his son, and Clara says maybe a sentence to her dad.  These are things that went towards lessening the emotional impact of the episode because a lot of it felt very safe and sterile.  Sure, the Doctor had a nice send off speech (actually, it was really nice because of how it applies to both Time Lords and humans as well as New Years day which is in just a few days) but something was lacking.  Yes, it was better than the 10th Doctor’s ending, which was drawn out, but it never reached the heights Moffat hyped it up to be, and above all else, that’s what is so frustrating: an egocentric writer who thinks everything he does is so clever he has to tell the whole world rather than letting the episode do the talking for him.

I’m looking forward to Peter Capaldi and am sad we will never again hear bow ties are cool.  I will miss the way Smith so skillfully plays the old man trying to act young.  There are so many great things he was able to do with such a limited script that put him in place as my favorite of the new Doctors that I will miss.  When he drops his bow tie at the end you know it’s over, and he’s fine with it, he knows it’s time to go.  He lets us know it’ll all be good and everyone changes as they grow older, just don’t forget who you were before because that’s what made you who you are now (he says it a bit better, but you get the point).  I know I have a lot of complaints about the episode, but when it comes down to it, Matt Smith proves with his final bow that he is an excellent actor and Doctor, and Amelia’s imaginary friend, the raggedy man will be greatly missed.

Serious question.  I don’t think he does – or maybe he does and just isn’t a good show runner, as he was exceptionally good during the RTD era and great for Sherlock and Coupling (currently re-watching both).  At least he doesn’t seem to respect the show and its history.  No time for a drawn out introduction, let’s just dive into it with the sonic screwdriver.

These days the sonic screwdriver is used for everything, and I mean everything from simply unlocking a door to being able to blow up spaceships to conveniently end an episode (The Power of Three).  After doing a bit of quick research online it seems throughout the classic era the show-runners and producers didn’t want the device to basically be an easy out for script writers.  It makes sense too since every episode would just end with the Doctor pointing the screwdriver and something and saving the day.  That would get boring, and you know what, as we’ve found out recently, it does get boring and annoying.  Rarely do we see the Doctor actually thinking out a situation or using his wits, but we do get to see him run around pointing his screwdriver at apparently random things these days and automatically knowing where to go.  Furthermore, since when does the TARDIS grow sonic screwdrivers?  Any fan of the classic era will recall Romana making her own screwdriver, so at what point did Time Lords and Ladies apparently forget how to make them?  Back to using the device to encourage bad writing, I recently watched The Visitation (a fifth Doctor episode with a very good side character and a nice little historical reference ending) and the sonic screwdriver was destroyed.  Then again, the fifth Doctor barely used it, but it was nice to see they took the final (of many steps) to take it away from the show.  And then Moffat and the other writers just uses it as a magic wand to make up for poor writing.

What in the world is the deal with Strax?  Sontarans are clones for war, so what in the world happened with Strax?  I understand they have no idea if the show is to be a childish kid show or a sci-fi show for all to enjoy, but get rid of Strax (and Vastra and Jenny, but they’re a little more tolerable) and give him his own spin-off.  Fill the space left by the Sarah Jane Adventures and give these characters their own show and take them away from Doctor

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Who forever.

What the frak is going on in Doctor Who anyway?  Since series 5 we have had countless threads that went nowhere.  For instance:

  • Who was making their own TARDIS?  Likely very important because it was brought up in series 5 and 6 and again, never explained.
  • What is the Silence (the religious order) and why do they want the Doctor dead?  Come on, this was a full season arc that went nowhere.
  • How did the Doctor’s and River’s timelines get reversed, literally never explained.
  • Who was Madame Kovarian, and I don’t want the excuse of just some baddie, that’s weak and we all know it.
  • Who blew up the TARDIS in series 5?  This, come on now, this is huge, who blew up the TARDIS?  Anyone, really, nobody knows?
  • How did the Doctor get out of the Pandorica?  Yes, he used his magic wand to get out the second time, but how did he get out the first time?

I know I’m missing things for the list, but I think you get my point.

Sure, it may have been a fun ride while the episodes aired, but after realizing the threads go nowhere what’s the point?  Seriously, this is the only show I know that can get away with this and have nobody criticize it.  Furthermore, with only 13 episodes a season, it’s the only show I know that has such inconsistent writing.  This is for another post, but they need new writers and a new show runner.  The show is currently so sporadic that it’s difficult to watch.  It’s like there’s no rhyme or reason to anything anymore.  Series 7 was weird because I like Clara but it didn’t matter at all which order her episodes were in because they were all rather rushed single episodes.  The Ponds in Series 7 were awful, and I still don’t understand why the Doctor blew up a ton of people in The Power of Three or why they wasted money making a completely nonsensical dinosaur episode.  All they had to do was send them to the past, that would have been cool, but no, instead we get the Doctor playing fetch with a dinosaur.

My last point is how the Doctor is written.  Moffat seems to not like it when the Doctor is serious, talks, or stands still.  It’s all running about and no talking.  I wish there was a low-key episode with the Doctor and Clara just kind of you know, talking, developing their relation.  Instead, Clara went from being scared of dead bodies (Cold War) to carrying a giant gun and commanding troops (Nightmare in Silver, what a mess that was).

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

I don’t know.  I liked Moffat during the RTD era, but maybe RTD was able to control Moffat.  Maybe we don’t need these crazy arcs, as he clearly doesn’t understand them and just says how much fun it is to write with time travel, but when it goes nowhere, it’s not fun or entertaining, it’s just a waste.  Perhaps the new Doctor will be older and not as frantic.  We need someone who can calmly analyze and respond to a situation, not someone just running around being all crazy.

Basically, the 50th will determine if Moffat deserves to stay and the Christmas episode will likely only confirm it either way.  Right now it doesn’t seem like he likes the show or maybe he doesn’t understand it or maybe it’s just too much for him to do this and Sherlock, which he’s very good at and as a writer I love his work with Coupling.  Maybe Doctor Who just isn’t his thing and as much as he likes it it just isn’t working.  There’s no shame in that, just go back to writing an episode a season, which were all very good, and maybe make more Sherlock (well, that’s just me being greedy, as three episodes a season, as great as they are, just isn’t enough).

Ignoring the fact that I’m in the midst of writing a two part post on why Moffat isn’t good, I really quite loved The Name of the Doctor.  We actually learn who Clara is and we get a cool set up for the 50th anniversary episode, but more on that later.

For the first time since the midway point of series 6, Moffat has figured out how to write a really solid 45 or so minute long episode.  But really this is a set up for the anniversary, so he basically wrote part 1 of 2, going back to

I know Clara, the coat is too much to handle

I know Clara, the coat is too much to handle

the point that the series needs two part stories.  Another first is Strax didn’t annoy me to tears and the rest of that gang were actually well used.  Yet another  first, River Song actually had a point beyond just saying “hello sweetie” or “spoilers” (spoilers is still said as is sweetie, but it makes sense and isn’t forced, it’s actually kind of touching).  The Doctor has a sentimental moment with River that shows Moffat can still write characters with emotion and personality.  It’s clear these are his two characters, and Matt Smith and Alex Kingston clearly respect these characters.

But what we all want to know, who is Clara?  The episode starts right up with a very cool montage of Clara basically being a guardian of all of the Doctor’s regenerations, and a quick bit of her at Gallifrey before it all went to ruin.  I hope to see more of these sorts of clips in the 50th, as Matt Smith needs to somehow “interact” with his past versions (to see him run along side Tom Baker would be absolutely hilarious and fantastic).  As the story progresses so does Clara’s realization of who she is, and it’s all played very well by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who was pretty much pushed to the side for the last two episodes.

Just an aside, but an important, and actually more than an aside: Moffat needs to stop writing big old sayings that go relatively nowhere.  See, the whole thing about silence falling when the question is asked, well silence doesn’t really fall.  Yeah, it kind of does for maybe thirty seconds, but it’s not nearly as grand as it was hyped to be.  Another area Moffat needs to cool it with is the Doctor being this evil person/god, it’s just getting old and making less sense each time.  But back to the good now, yeah?

Situations have been better for the Doctor

Situations have been better for the Doctor

The Great Intelligence, played yet again by Richard Grant, has become more foreboding and dark, making him (well technically it I suppose) an even better nemesis.  I would have liked to have seen the Great Intelligence bet a little more great and, well intelligent, as it didn’t do much in terms of being clever or smart.  However, its ultimate act of evil is pretty grand and unlike the endings of the past two series, makes sense.  Now, the ending needs talking about, and I’ll try to not include spoilers, but they’ll most likely happen, so you are warned.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS FROM HERE ON, YOU ARE INDEED WARNED

Cool, so we find out the master plan of the Great Intelligence, who Clara is, why/how River is still hanging around, and there’s just one more thing: how is the Doctor going to save Clara?  See, Clara has to do something to save the Doctor that ends up killing her a lot.  So the Doctor decides he needs to save her this time after failing so much before.  When doing so he finds himself facing himself.  Kind of himself that is.  It seems that somewhere in his timeline there is a Doctor that doesn’t do what the Doctor would do, a Doctor that disgraces the title of Doctor (played by John Hurt).  I’m going to be one to jump ahead and say this may very well be the Valeyard.  This would go in tune with the show wanting to have a lot of throwbacks to Classic Who.  However, as a write this there are also reports that Hurt’s Doctor will be the “real” ninth Doctor, which apparently 9, 10, and 11 forgot about because it was too horrible a time during the Time War.  Though, I would also argue, if he is to be one of the Doctor’s regenerations, then he may be an aged version of the eighth Doctor, as he does resemble him, just older.  Actually, in a picture of Hurt on set for the 50th, he looks a bit like a mix of eight and ten.

If we are to have him be the Doctor instead of the Valeyard, then it would be cool if Paul McGann was asked to come back, start off in the Time War and then have something happen to him so that he’d begin to regenerate, but be forced by the Time Lords into some sort of in between regeneration stage, where he has both aged and has a bit of both eight and nine’s personality.  In order to fully regenerate he would then have to finish the Time War.

And let’s not forget, the Doctor does say he’s (Hurt’s Doctor) not the Doctor, or at least he breaks the name of the Doctor.

Regardless, I’m definitely looking forward to the 50th.  This episode has restored some faith in Moffat for me, and if he doesn’t go overboard with a nonsense/complex plot for the 50th, I’ll be looking forward to series 8 (apparently Smith and Coleman will be back for next year and I’m assuming Moffat will as well, unless the 50th is a flop then who knows).  Regardless, this is a great episode, so let’s praise it for bringing the show back into the spotlight before I go on and on about it, as there is a lot to say, but it’s best said by saying to watch it.

Nightmare in Silver perfectly sums up what the episode is: a nightmare.  For those who read my review of last week’s episode, you will know I paid little attention to the fact that Neil Gaiman penned the story of Nightmare in Silver.  I was not very fond of the time he wasted killing off Rory in The Doctor’s Wife, and now it is clear he is very good at wasting time and apparently wasting a full episode worth of time.  This review is coming late, as I wanted time to cool off after watching the episode, but it has left me with the same feeling as just finishing the episode.

Look Doctor, Rose isn't the only one who can be an action hero!

Look Doctor, Rose isn’t the only one who can be an action hero!

First off, I’d like to get it out of the way, the kids.  If I wanted to watch people complain about cell phone reception and being bored I’d sooner go over to a computer lab at my college and listen to people complain, at least then I can quietly laugh to myself as I find the one area of the room that has reception.  It’s like these kids couldn’t care less that, I don’t know, they just traveled through space (and likely time) to a distant planet.  I guess it is hard to please children these days.  Of course they get caught and then saved, same old nonsense.  On this topic, I dare anyone reading this to name me an instance in which a movie/show has brought in a kid and they were actually not annoying to no end.

Now, let’s have a look at the Cybermen.  I do like that they’re not this big clunky things we’ve had for so long now.  However, I absolutely hate how they now just have to say upgrade and they’re no longer dead.  It feels like lazy writing just to make them scary, and it turned out to be more annoying than anything.  Seriously, how are they able to upgrade their metal body, which in no way is a computer program that can be patched as they were doing with everything else.  Everything they ended up doing felt awkward and forced just to prove a point that they’re back and they’re going to be scary.

On the plus side, Matt Smith was good as the Doctor, but we have kind of come to expect that at this point, even with the very average writing we’ve had for the majority of series seven.  Though, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the good vs. evil Doctor, but then again, I’m a bit spoiled right now with Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black and her ability to be not only multiple characters but also be a character impersonating another character that she plays.  But there’s really not much to say against Smith’s acting here, so good job!

Not as much can be said for Jenna-Louise Coleman, or rather for Clara.  Coleman was good despite her character being written differently for every episode just to fit the specific conflict in the episode (much like the often unrealistic writing in Battlestar Galactica).  It was only a few episodes ago that Clara was freaking out over dead bodies in Cold War, yet now she is leading a group of soldiers to go off to war against the Cybermen.  People are falling around her yet she doesn’t seem to take notice or care at all.  For the past two episodes now, Clara has been kind of pushed to the side, coming in only when the writers want her to progress the plot.  This makes her story arc less interesting with every passing week, as we don’t get to see her simply talk with the Doctor and build a relation with him.  Granted, this is also due to cramming big ideas into tiny, forty-five minute episodes, resulting in a lot of things being rushed.  However, next week’s looks to have a much better tone despite the unending aggravation of Strax coming back (seriously, what is the point of him?  It’s like Moffat made it a point to ruin what little interesting bits of the Sontarans existed).

I thought there would only be two episodes I’d definitely never watch again from series seven (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three) but it seems I can add a third to that list.  By trying to bring back Classic-Who villains (that were never used this often in Classic-Who) they waste an episode trying to reinvent something that has run its course.  Here’s to hoping next week’s is better (as I do like Clara and there have been some episodes with her as the full-time companion that I really do like a lot), even with a title as plain as The Name of the Doctor, which has a very cool prequel clip and trailer, which will be provided below:

rings of akhaten doctor who

Really Awesome

Is this what the wait for the rest of season 7 has been for?  I really hope not.  Let’s get talking, shall we? (Oh, there will be spoilers)

So, episode two of this half of the season isn’t exactly what I would call good.  In fact, the majority of the episode was nothing short of awful.  I had hoped we’d gotten past the really bad episodes with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, but sadly I have been proven wrong.

The beginning of the episode with Clara’s parents and the leaf was actually kind of cool and helped add some emotional impact to this version of Clara.  However, outside of that the story went nowhere good.  She and the Doctor end up on an alien world looking down on some really spectacular space CGI.  Then they go to another part of the planet to take a visit to the Cantina (I’m not exactly sure if where they were had a specific name, but it was basically the Star Wars Cantina).  Even from there it seemed like there was some hope when Clara started talking to the Queen of Years (a little girl named Mary was chosen to be the queen, not quite sure why).  It was a nice little scene, as it continues to show Clara has a motherly inclination to her (this probably is important, just as important as the Doctor referencing his granddaughter I’d say).  But then it all goes to pieces.

Apparently the Queen (and presumably King) have to sing a being to sleep every thousand years, or he will eat the soul of the Queen (again, not quite sure why).  Naturally, something goes wrong and the being wakes up, but not before the Queen is teleported to the being and the Doctor and Clara somehow learn to breathe in space (yeah, I know).  So of course the Queen doesn’t die because she’s a little girl and that would not fly.  Eventually the being breaks out of its nifty glass cage and proceeds to be illuminated by a bright light and die (makes sense, right?).  So what is the natural order of progression here?  The sun, yes that’s right, the sun, ends up being the evil force controlling the now dead being (I guess he’s the middleman so the sun can sleep) and decides it wants to be a sun with a face.  Yes, a face, with the eyes, nose, mouth, all of it (to be fair, they treat the sun as a god so the face may be why, and apparently it’s a parasite of sorts, but again, not quite sure why/how).  At this point I’d like to note that if this were done in Classic Who, I imagine they’d at least make an effort to explain anything that’s going on right now, but then again they didn’t have a deranged Steven Moffat who wants to cram everything into a very small time frame or is off doing Sherlock or writing something else (no wonder DW is losing quality control these days, which is kind of sad considering how good Matt Smith can be and Jenna-Louise Coleman is quickly showing signs of becoming my favorite New-Who companion).

The Doctor then goes on a nice speech to the sun how he is all full of memories with pain and loss and love and happiness (you get the point, oh, the Time War was brought up again, I assume to prep us for the 1oth Doctor’s return, as he liked to go on about it a lot) and the sun starts to consume the memories (by the way, the soul is code for memories) but it just isn’t enough to fill its appetite.  So what does Clara do?  Well, for starters she figures out how to fly a space moped and then gives up her leaf for the sun, because we all know that what could have been offers an infinite amount of memories, which is why it is puzzling why she didn’t give up the book of things she wants to do, which likely contains the memories of her and her mother of things that could have been, but whatever, at this point it doesn’t matter.

And well, this isn't really awesome

And well, this isn’t really awesome

So, here’s what gets me the most: the Doctor, yet again, likely kills a ton of innocent people since the sun ate too much and then somehow disappeared, hence no gravitational pull from the sun, and I’d assume the fall of those planets out of orbit (still, was that as bad as blowing up humans on the spaceships in The Power of Three?).

Also, there’s a lot of filler in terms of singing, which I get is important for this story, but it really felt like filler, especially since the Doctor was barely in the episode (perhaps he was needed to film another episode).

I don’t exactly remember how the episode ended, but I do know Clara was given back her mother’s ring she had to give up to buy the space moped.  I liked this part because it brought the episode back to Clara, who is, oh I don’t know, the current story arc that is supposed to wrap up in the next six episodes, and with next week’s episode it doesn’t look like anyone will be addressing that arc soon.  On the bright side, next week’s episode looks to be a lot better and last week’s was also very good (I’ll probably be reviewing it during the week).

So, what do I rate this episode?  It hurts me to do this, but I can’t be kind just because I’m a huge DW fan (actually, that gives me more of a reason to be critical) but The Rings of Akhaten gets a very poor: 5/10

I liked the dialogue between the Doctor and Clara, but the rest was just plain bad.

Well we’re here again, another Doctor Who Christmas episode, or at least the trailer and a prequel clip (or minisode).  We’ll, I hate to say it, but Moffat, if you value Doctor Who at all, please stop writing.  Somehow Moffat has been able to ruin all things from the Classic-Who era.  Since when are the Silurian’s crime fighters in the Victorian era?  I had hoped for that to be a one off thing in “A Good Man Goes to War.”  Even worse, the Sontarans need to get out of the series for a very long time.  They were kind of useless in the Classic-Who era, but now they are just laughable, especially the one they decided to somehow bring back (from “A Good Man Goes to War”) to life.

That’s another thing, Moffat’s time travel nonsense doesn’t even make sense at this point.  It’s like he couldn’t care less about River and the Doctor having opposite timelines and how that ever happened.  I can only imagine the same nonsense will happen with Oswin/Clara, which is a shame, as Jenna Louise-Coleman seems like a fun companion, and I really don’t want the show to become a show based on the companions again like it has been with the Amy and Rory Show.

As for the Christmas trailer, what is there to expect?  With the exception of “Voyage of the Damned” there really hasn’t been one worth watching again.  I guess that isn’t the fault of anyone (well, the Cyber-King is someone’s fault, and they deserve to be fired from the show) as it is the nature of Christmas episodes to be lighter, but still, having a Sontaran and Silurian is just making it annoying.  They were barely in the Classic series, but now I suppose due to budgetary reasons we’re stuck with them forever and for what seems to be very little reason.

On the plus side, I absolutely cannot wait for Jenna Louise-Coleman to be on the show.  Just watching the preview clips with her and Matt introducing the trailer and minisode was entertaining.

So, looking forward to the rest of the season, all I want is either for Moffat to abandon his broken story arcs for the past few seasons or at least finish them (oh I don’t know, how about why the Silence were after him, what the point of the Silents were, and why someone is trying to make a TARDIS  for two episodes now, just to name a few).  At this point, leave them be and start new.  Stop with this time traveling stuff that ultimately makes no sense and relies on people forgetting what happened and noticing how it doesn’t make sense.

Most importantly, at least let Matt act seriously again.  They’ve made him far too goofy to the point that it’s getting aggravating.  Also, get rid of the writer of “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Power of Three,” both of which were horribly written episodes that either had no closure or just didn’t make sense.

Also, stop trying to make each episode a blockbuster-esque movie, all it does is cram a bunch of stuff into a limited time frame and it all ends up feeling rushed and allows for little development.  Bring back to the two-parters, they’re not bad when used properly.

So yeah, it sounds like a lot of complaining, but for a long time fan of the show, I just don’t understand what Moffat is trying to prove, and hopefully with the new companion we’ll start to see the show get back to normal.  In the meantime, here’s the trailer and minisode:

SPOILER ALERT: There are indeed spoilers, unlike River, I tell them to you

Kicking off the start of Series 7 of Doctor Who, “Asylum of the Daleks” was very impressive.  First off, Daleks have had a lot of changes since the show came back in 2005.  First there was one, then there was an army, then they fought Cybermen, followed by a horrid half-human-half-Dalek waste of a two-parter, then whatever the Series 4 finale turned into, followed by Power Ranger Daleks, and now landing on something far more true to Daleks.  I appreciated the quick reference to Skaro (homeworld of the Daleks) and the Daleks felt far more serious in this episode.  Sure, the beginning was a bit flimsy, but I suppose it was as good a way as any to get the Doctor, Amy, and Rory down to the “Asylum Planet” (I don’t know if it’s really called that, but it sounds good).  The planet is briefly shown, which is fine, there are nanogenes all over the planet that turn all life forms (living or dead) into Daleks, and after the “Daleks in Manhattan” nonsense, the human Daleks are much better now.  Worth noting, the Ponds are going through a divorce, but don’t worry, it’s fixed in the end due to a surprisingly touching but out of place scene that reminds us of the evil that happened at Demon’s Run (though, I doubt Moffat will ever fully explain Madame Kovarian, so it probably doesn’t matter).  I find out of place scenes happen a lot with the Ponds, as they never do that much to contribute to the story in these moments and take away precious screen time that the Doctor can be doing cool stuff in.  What kind of cool stuff?

Just 4 More Episodes Until Jenna-Louise Coleman is the Full-Time Companion!

I’ll tell you.  See, the Doctor, thanks to the power of Steven Moffat to somehow keep the most important things a secret (probably by releasing enough no so important information) has done the best and worst thing for the current Series: introducing Jenna-Louise Coleman as Oswin, the Doctor’s companion as of this year’s Christmas episode, and by the way, she’s a Dalek, and as of right now she’s blown up, as a Dalek.  It’s great because she was brilliant, seriously brilliant as a companion.  I really cannot wait for the Ponds and their drawn out drama to finally be over (come on, this isn’t Battlestar Galactica).  They weren’t lying when they said she can talk just as fast as Matt Smith as the Doctor, and the best part, she wasn’t trying to either have sex with the Doctor or wanting to date and/or marry him.  She’s fun.  Donna was also not wanting to get with the Doctor, and that’s what made her (and pretty much every Classic-Who companion) so much better than most of New-Who’s companions.

However, this is also bad.  Bad because I really don’t care about the episodes with the Ponds.  Granted, if they’re as good as this one then yes, I’m interested, but what made this one so good was the lack of the Ponds and the focus on Oswin (I’ll have to get used to that name).  Sure, we could watch Rory die a few more times but is that really what we need?  No,  it isn’t.  I honestly believe Coleman has a very good chance of being the best companion of New-Who, I just hope Moffat doesn’t go overboard with any timeline stuff (as it never really was explained how the Doctor and River ended up traveling through time in opposite directions or the other giant plot holes from the last two Series, but I’ll leave that for anyone who cares to read the last Doctor Who post).  More importantly, here quick dialogue leads to some pretty funny lines.  I can see her making some witty, sarcastic remarks, as she has shown she has no problem making fun of how people look and I’d only assume how they act as well.

This leads to another point, did the Daleks even have to be there?  I suppose since Oswin was a Dalek, but other than that, it could have been any enemy.  Again, it’s difficult to determine how a Dalek episode should be, as they really aren’t that interesting and weren’t in Classic-Who all that much.  Sure, it really never mattered that every Dalek in all of Doctor Who was in the episode, but the concept of broken Daleks surprisingly worked.  It’s good to see Moffat is basically abandoning the whole mess about the Time War killing all the Daleks, but I’d prefer if we’d see some Timelords come back, and at the very least bring Romana back from E-Space (oh my, there goes the Classic-Who side of me again, I’ll just slip that away).

So, was it a good episode.  Yes indeed, very good in fact, and that’s coming from someone who would be fine with the Daleks being gone until Series 10 roles on through.  I don’t remember being this excited for a new companion, and it’s a great feeling knowing when the Ponds leave (and hopefully River leaves with them) an even better companion will take their place.  Moffat has managed to keep me on the edge of my seat with the surprise ending, and I just can’t help but think if he actually finished an arc how great of a writer he’d be (from the looks of it I don’t see the last Series issues being resolved), but even with his faults he’s probably writing the best sci-fi on TV.  The final verdict of the episode probably shouldn’t be like this, but I can’t help it, I’ve been won over, and for that, the episode gets a fantastic: 9/10

More importantly, what did you all think of the episode, Coleman, or anything else you’d like to point out from it?

Should Moffat Leave Doctor Who?

Spoiler Warning – Series 5 and 6

Yes and no.  On the no side he did bring back Doctor Who to what it used to be.  He took out the nonsense of the companions (except Donna) wanting to either have sex with the Doctor or marry him.  He kind of knew how to make good season finales (more on that later).  Bringing in Matt Smith was simply brilliant, as he feels like the Doctor.  What that means is he doesn’t feel human like David Tennant often did.  Series 5 was great and is my favorite of the reboot.  The episodes started having a more serious tone and there was a sense of urgency that fit the mood, but then it all kind of went wrong.

Series 5 had a nice arc but it had its problems.  For one, how did the Doctor ever get out of the pandorica?  I mean for the first time?  The way Moffat wrote it meant it was a paradox.  I know Moffat likes time travel and for some reason people are now fine with paradox after paradox, but it makes no sense since the Master had to make a paradox machine and these issues really didn’t come about in the classic series.  That aside, Series 5 introduced what seemed to be a great two season long arc.

Now we’re at the doorstep of Series 7 and nothing has been resolved.  Let’s take a look:

  • Why do the Silents want to make their own TARDIS and who made the TARDIS in “The Lodger?”
  • Who is Madame Kovarian?
  • Who stole Amy’s memories for the finale of Series 5?
  • It was never really explained how the timelines between River and the Doctor ended up going in different directions.
  • What is up with the Series 6 ending talk about “ on the plains of Trenzalore, at the fall of the 11th?”  It doesn’t seem to come into play with the Ponds leaving, and I am tired of Moffat just throwing stuff out there and never coming back to it, so why put this in there?  I say it has nothing to do with the Ponds since the information and episode titles of the first five episodes of Series 7 really don’t indicate anything will relate to it.

I’m sure I’m probably missing some things, but even that is far too much to leave us hanging with when only five episodes will have the Ponds this Series.  Honestly, I’m glad they’re leaving, as Moffat has turned the show into the Amy and Rory show with the Doctor just kind of being there.  It’s like he doesn’t want Matt Smith to be the star for some reason.

He’s also doing that thing RTD did that I hated, and it’s bringing back enemies far too often.  RTD overused the Daleks to such an extent that he had those horrible human Daleks.  Moffat is relying far too much on the Weeping Angels.  Yes, they were cool for “Blink,” but after another two-parter in Series 5 and now having them come back for Series 7, they’re getting old.

The whole thing about this Series being the blockbuster episodes is kind of annoying.  I don’t need an amped up episode every week.  Sometimes I like a slower paced episode where the Doctor can talk on and on and have it make sense without having people run around all the time.  That made episodes such as the classic two-parter introducing River, “Midnight,” and a lot of Classic-Who so good.  Yes, there is running, but character interaction is needed as well, and I hope that doesn’t get lost in this new amped up series.

So what are we left with?  A writer that doesn’t seem to know how to finish arcs and instead seems to be hoping people forget about them.  This is aggravating because I can’t help but think we’ll be getting a disappointing ending along the lines of Battlestar Galactica disappointing.  I think the best thing for the show is for the Ponds to leave and to have a fresh start.  Just leave all the arcs leading nowhere in the past and start new with Jenna Louise-Coleman.  From what everyone is saying it seems like she and Smith will be able to offer fun bickering back and forth.  That’s what I want, a companion who is a friend and doesn’t take over the show like the Ponds have.  Plus, Smith has a new outfit, which leads me to thinking this may be a new turn for the show since the Moffat era.  I’d like to say I’m excited for the new series, but it’s just not there like it was for last series.  Moffat has basically burned me out by basically not solving anything, and he seems to be on his high horse.  I’ve watched what he did with Sherlock and it’s great, I just don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish with Doctor Who.

Move over Ponds, a new companion’s in town